Lasting Positive Affect

In recent weeks I’ve been involved in various activities which have created a space for me to do some solid reflection and time to think about who I am, and how I identify myself. Navel gazing is something we all do at some point, and I’d like to share with you what I’ve come to appreciate.

In positive psychology the range of activities that are involved are designed to help create lasting positive affect. That is, the desired response is to maintain a long lasting effect of feeling good beyond immediate gratification. This has been of interest to me in recent months as I want to know how to make this more applicable. How can we be engaged in activities that help us to uncover what it means to have lasting positive affect?

There is a pertinent point to mention, that living in the Western developed world, we are afforded the luxury of this type of thinking, and this type of activity. I’d argue this isn’t actually restricted to the Western developed world, but we certainly have more opportunity to engage in this type of thinking due to the circumstances that enable it.

In my life I can recall some events where the experience is such a fond one that it creates warmth in my heart and raises an internal smile. I now reflect and realise that it is the way I reflect on these that create a long sense of feeling good. Two of those experiences are the births of all three of my children. I can also reflect and recall that certain achievements I thought should have created lasting positive affect did not happen as I might have expected. For example, passing my masters degree.

So some weeks back I was involved in using my skills and knowledge to deliver some work which has directly benefited an organisation and created for them an opportunity to think differently about the way they work. This was such an awesome experience that I am delighted to have been part of it.

Last week in particular I was with a group of people who helped me to realise an idea and make it a reality. The affirmation this has given me in myself is immense. I have a firm belief that I can achieve (my own sense of) greatness, and this is incredibly valuable to me. More so, this has affirmed to me that I am at heart a collaborator. I write about it often enough, and advocate it enough to know this, and recent times have given me the strength to know this.

I attended a conference last week, and was involved in several discussions where I ended up connecting with different people, and connecting people with others. I’ve had conversations where I’ve realised that I may not know the thing being asked, but someone I know does. I’m a connector. I have built a strong network of people with whom I have built trust, rapport, and professional credibility. Because of them, I know things. I know things which I didn’t know I wanted to know, and didn’t know would be important to me or to others.

These two things are not things I want to go forth and exploit, they are just important for me to know. It’s taken a range of experience to help me know these two things, and taking the time to reflect has been key to this. Where this leads me is unknown. But I have a strong sense of self which I will trust to guide my path.